Slow Living :: July 2015

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July is a time when the garden really steps up a notch and we begin to get some sort of reasonable harvest from it (as chaotic as it currently is).  It’s also the time other people’s gardens are in full swing and our neighbour very kindly gave us a small plastic sack of blackcurrant boughs (as she’d hacked back an old blackcurrant bush that she will be replacing in the autumn).

We had a team effort stripping the currants off and then split the 6lbs into half for making syrup/cordial and the other half for wine.  From the syrup we made some rather delicious blackcurrant sorbet (as well as enjoying it as a drink).

We’ve also been busy harvesting and drying various herbs from the garden and keeping them either for cooking or medicinal uses (to that effect Moo has been infusing oils with calendula and lavender for later use in making skin products).

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We celebrated my second son’s 19th birthday with a cheesecake made my Moo (short of a few snaffled strawberries) and enjoyed meeting up with friends to enjoy some of the sunny weather.

 

 

Slow Living :: May 2015

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With a newborn baby, May has seemed rather a blur. However, you generally don’t get much done at any speed in the first few months and it has been another lesson in patience, because even getting something as simple as the washing up done isn’t a given.  I started off using a stretchy sling, but problems with my neck and back have meant that towards the end of the month I’ve had to put sling usage on hold, which has affected the amount of household tasks I could do (because he’s not a fan of lying down without being directly on or next to someone).  So I’m struggling with some frustration at not being able to get things done that I feel I should.

The children have been variously helping to prepare food and Moo has, of course, been baking.  Amongst various other cakes, she made two different lemon drizzle cakes: one in a bundt pan, decorated with violas and calendula petals; another in a loaf tin, decorated with lavender flowers.

The loaves of bread may look rather simple and uninspiring to you, but these are the first two loaves that I was organised enough to make after Arty has been born.  I was very pleased to finally have got back to making bread again (and I’ve kept it up since – so a little bit of normality regained).

Plenty to sow this month and plenty growing.  The first of the tomatoes (Latah) are fruiting and our sweet peppers (approaching two years old) continue to fruit.  Currants are also fruiting and the strawberries flowering.  There’s a huge amount to do in the garden and I’m trying to rise above feeling frustrated that there is very little I can get done with Arty.  Thankfully plants will continue to grow (if a little haphazardly) even with a small amount of care and some things, salad for example, are already being picked and eaten.

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Ayni Paleo Chocolate Moustaches

We were recently treated to some delicious paleo chocolate moustaches from the fabulous Ayni, (Creatively Paleo).

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moustaches

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As if that wasn’t fun enough, moustaches come in four flavours: Chocolate, Mint Chocolate, Orange Chocolate and the exciting sounding Spicy Chilli Chocolate!

Tastiness and obvious fun-making potential aside, Ayni chocolates are even more fantastic because all of their chocolates are made from raw organic cacao and are dairy, soy and grain free (therefore gluten free) making them perfect for people with an allergy to many of the constituents of regular chocolate and for those who would wish to avoid these foods from their diet.

And there’s MORE! It can be a tad guilt-inducing at times that children with allergies or particular dietary requirements can be limited in ‘fun’ chocolate choices, but not with Ayni chocolate – as well as their more ‘grown-up’ range, they also make double decker buses and some wonderful chocolate buttons!

ayni-paleo-chocolate-buttons

So kids – young and old – can have fun with their chocolate!

Why not pop over to their site and have a look for yourself?

Ayni - Creatively Paleo Chocolate

Thank you to Ayni Chocolate for sending us 5 (one each) moustaches to taste and review – they were really well received and we’ll definitely be back to order more!

Weekly Meal Re-cap {Week 4}

It’s been a week of mistakes and some set-backs.  I managed to make a mistake ordering from Riverford and instead of ordering 2 x 2litres of milk ordered 2 x 1l, so managed to get much less milk than usual.  On top of that we had one of my elder sons staying for the week, which (due to lack of planning on my part as I didn’t know he was coming till the last minute) led to a bit of to-ing and fro-ing from supermarkets, which I’d’ve preferred to avoid, but never mind.

J (my partner) continues to buy non-organic pasta, even though I’ve asked a few times that he remember to get organic.  I very rarely get to the shops and it can be hard sometimes, because he generally wants to buy the cheapest.

The chickens have also gone off lay again, so have ended up buying some eggs because breakfast is rather difficult without them!

Where items are in italics they are either grains or other items I didn’t eat.  Items are organic unless specified

Riverford Organic Farms:

  • Large vegbox with meat: potatoes (Valor) UK, carrots UK, broccoli ES/IT, leeks UK, beetroot UK, swede UK, black kale UK,  courgettes IT, mushrooms UK, shallots NL, sweet potatoes ES, vine cherry tomatoes 250g ES, lamb leg joint 1kg,  beef frying steak (8) 600g, pork mince 500g £49.60
  • Whole milk 21l x2: £2.10
  • Yeo Valley fruity favourites 4x120g: £1.75
  • English apples 1.5kg: £5.45
  • Unsmoked streaky bacon 200g: £4.15

Total: £64.70

Morrisons:

  • Clipper teabags: £2.00
  • Cheddar: £2.49
  • Butter x3: £5.10
  • Milk 2l: £1.84
  • Tomatoes (were reduced): £1.05
  • Mornflake oats: £1.99
  • 6 Eggs: £2.10
  • Pasta (not organic): £1.35
  • Grapes (not organic – reduced): £0.65
  • Bananas (not organic – reduced): £0.68
  • Cauliflower (not organic – reduced): £0.55
  • Dried coriander leaf (not organic): £1.50
  • 4 x tinned tomatoes (not organic): £2.24
  • Golden granulated sugar (not organic): £1.26

Total: £24.80

Sainsburys:

  • Dove’s Farm Malthouse bread flour x2: £3.40
  • Milk 2l: £1.98

Total:  £5.38

Asda:

  • Red cabbage: £1.67
  • Potatoes 1.5kg: £1.50
  • Eggs x6: £2.00
  • Yeo Valley Creme fraiche 200g: £0.95

Total: £6.12

***

Total for the week: £101.00

So far, £361.84 has been spent and averaged out, the cost per week is: £90.46

What we made with it:

Tuesday:

  • Breakfast: porridge
  • Packed Lunch: Cheese sandwich; parsnip muffin; apple
  • Lunch: Noodles with veg
  • Dinner:  Coconut pork and beetroot; quinoakale and flatbreads

Wednesday:

  • Breakfast: porridge
  • Packed Lunch: Leftover coconut pork and beetroot in a wrap; fruit yoghurt; apple
  • Lunch: Cheese sandwiches
  • Dinner: I was out for dinner and ate with a friend (who made a lovely kedgeree, so I broke my no grain rule).  Everyone else had pasta made by J.

Persian inspired pot roast lamb

Thursday: 

  • Breakfast: porridge
  • Packed Lunch: Cheese sandwich; fruit yoghurt; apple
  • Lunch: Pea and bacon soup with polenta slices
  • Dinner: Persian-inspired lamb stew with garlic, lemon and coriander cauliflower ‘rice’; black kale.

NB: Nin made a dried fruit baked custard for breakfast the next day and the lamb bone went back into the slow cooker to make stock for lamb and fennel soup for a few day’s time.

Stock

Lamb stock from the remnants of the stew

Friday:

  • Breakfast:  Fig clafoutis
  • Packed Lunch: Pasta salad; fruit yoghurt; apple
  • Lunch: Pea and bacon soup
  • Dinner: Beef stirfry (with broccoli and carrot) with egg-fried cauliflower ‘rice’

Saturday:

  • Breakfast: Fig clafoutis or porridge
  • Lunch: children were out, soup for anyone else.
  • Dinner: Mushroom pizza and three cheese pizza with chipped pototoes and salad. I had various veg with potatoes in a tomato sauce with the potatoes and salad.

NB: Usually I wouldn’t make ‘regular’ pizza, however, our weighing scales are playing up and when I went to make bread for J, the weights were obviously out in the mixer after mixing and so I reserved to make into pizza bases (as it clearly wasn’t going to rise for any sort of decent bread.  The solution for me was to use some of the tomato topping to add to cooked veg.

Sunday:

  • Breakfast: porridge
  • Lunch: Fennel and lamb soup
  • Dinner: Slow-cooker pulled pork (last of the bulk-buy of pork we made a while ago) with home-made coleslaw and chips

NB: The Asda shop is responsible for the cabbage and eggs to make coleslaw with and potatoes for chips.

Monday:

  • Breakfast: porridge
  • Lunch: Egg Salad
  • Dinner: Barbecue pork casserole (using the rest of the previous day’s cooked pork and the liquid reduced, fat skimmed off and added to chicken stock plus veg) with rice and steamed broccoli.

Summary:

This week was rather all over the place.  Next week I have already planned for veg to juice so that I actually get some breakfast in the morning.  I also want to get better organised with lunches, as it’s another meal I often skip (and yes, I know that’s not good) and I’d like to move away from the reliance on pasta for a quick meal for the children as I don’t think it’s ideal.

Meal re-cap {week 3}

This is the first week that I have gone grain-free. I’m also trying to cut out potatoes, parsnips, sweet potato (etc) and processed sugar.

Weekly Meals FAQ are here.  Where items are in italics they are either grains or other items I didn’t eat.  Items are organic unless specified.

 Riverford Organic Farms:

  • Large veg box comprising of: Tomatoes, 2x fennel, 4 courgettes, green beans, portobello mushrooms, lettuce, potatoes, 3 leeks, 6 onions, 4 parsnips, 6 carrots, savoy cabbage: £20.45
  • Cauliflower: £1.95
  • English apples £1.5kg: £5.45
  • Blood oranges £1kg: £2.95
  • Whole Milk 2litres (£1.89 per 2l) x2: £3.78
  • Yeo Valley Fruity Favourites Yoghurts (4pck): £1.75
  • Greens of Glastonbury double gloucester 300g: £2.99

Total: £39.32

Sainsburys:

  • Whole Chicken 1.47kg £9.71
  • SO back bacon £3.99
  • English apples (£2.50) x2: £5.00
  • SO mozzarella £1.25
  • SO feta £1.85
  • SO mature cheddar x2: £4.50
  • Yeo Valley Creme Fraiche 200g £0.95
  • Whole Milk 2.27l: £1.98
  • Unsalted butter (£1.70 each) x3 £5.10
  • SO Kalamata Olives £1.70
  • SO jar of tomato puree £1.20
  • Napolina olive oil (not organic) £2.50
  • Highland Spring still water £0.92
  • SO ready-to-eat dates £2.60
  • Cafe Direct Machu R&G coffee £3.49
  • Rowse clear organic honey £2.99
  • Bananas x8 (not organic) x2 £2.30
  • Cauliflower (not organic) £1.10
  • Maris Piper potatoes (not organic) £2.39
  • SO frozen peas £2.20
  • Mayonnaise (not organic – for J) £2.80
  • Billington’s golden caster sugar (not organic – for J) £2.10
  • Sausage rolls (not organic – for J) £1.30

Total: £65.17

Morrisons:

  • Dried coriander (not organic): £1.50
  • Tinned haricot beans (not organic) £0.59 x2: £1.18

Total: £2.68

Was also given 2 courgettes and 2 ramiro peppers

Total for the week: £93.44

So far, £260.84 has been spent and averaged out, the cost per week is: £86.95

What we ate:

 

Tuesday:

  • Breakfast: Fried egg and bread. I wasn’t very good and didn’t have anything.
  • Packed Lunch: Pasta Salad, Fruit Yoghurt
  • Lunch: J, Nin and Stinkers had sausage rolls (tut tut) and fruit. I just had some fruit.
  • Dinner: Chicken Salad (served with fried mashed swede and potato leftover from the day before)
  • Snacks: some apples and carrots were munched on

NB: The chicken salad was made from meat from the whole chicken which I pot-roasted with some veg and water and then divided the meat into two meal portions.  Bones went back in the pot with some added water to make stock.

FYI salad was chicken, avocado, tomato, feta, dried basil, dried parsley and lettuce with a basic olive oil, cider vinegar, salt and pepper dressing.

Wednesday:

  • Breakfast: Porridge (again, I didn’t eat breakfast – I am working on this!)
  • Packed Lunch: Leftover chicken salad, fruit yoghurt and apple
  • Lunch: Baked Avocado and Eggs
  • Dinner: Chicken curry (using leftover chicken) and carrots and coriander with cauliflower ‘rice’.
  • Snacks: apple

NB: I thought baked avocado with eggs would be intuitive, except a whole egg doesn’t fit in an avocado half – yes, I am that spatially unaware!

Thursday:

  • Breakfast: Porridge or Toast (again I ended up giving this a miss as I was rushing around and ended up just having a banana)
  • Packed Lunch: Leftover cauliflower rice, various salad and, for Ted, slice of bread; fruit yoghurt; apple
  • Lunch: Egg and salad (some bread for Stinkers)
  • Dinner: Bacon, mushroom, leek and tomato ‘pasta’ – ie spiralised courgette ‘pasta’ for me and regular pasta  for everyone else, with parmesan

NB: the courgette ‘pasta’ was actually very nice!

Nin made some parsnip gluten-free muffins (made with rice flour and kefir, amongst other things) for a quick grab breakfast in the morning.

Friday:

  • Breakfast: Parsnip muffins (gf)
  • Packed Lunch: Leftover bacon, mushroom, leek and tomato pasta with salad and cubed cheese; yoghurt and blood orange
  • Lunch: Stinkers was asleep and it had been such a busy day, I forgot!
  • Dinner: Butterbean and fig stew with spiced mashed potato and parsnip with garlic savoy cabbage.

NB: rice might’ve been a more ‘obvious’ accompaniment, but there was some ready-peeled parsnip left from making the muffins that needed using up.  I ended up eating the mash, even though I wasn’t really ‘supposed’ to, because I was just so hungry after not eating breakfast or lunch – and there’s a lesson in there: if you don’t look after yourself and eat, then willpower disappears and you’ll eat anything!

Saturday:

  • Breakfast: Porridge and Toast with home-made jam
  • Lunch: Cheese sandwiches
  • Dinner: Cheese, leek and mushroom frittata with diced roast potatoes and salad (lettuce, tomatoes, avocado and the rest of the feta with a basic dressing)

Yes, I didn’t eat again until the evening and I really need to get organised to make sure I do!

Sunday:

  • Breakfast: Porridge
  • Lunch: Cheese sandwiches
  • Dinner: Pot-roast beef; honey-roast parsnip and carrots; roast potatoes; savoy cabbage and peas.

NB: Nin made parsnip muffins for the next day’s breakfast.

Monday:

  • Breakfast: Parsnip muffins (these weren’t gluten-free as ran out of gf flour so using up the last bits of gluten-based flour)
  • Packed Lunch: Leftover beef and tomato sandwiches; fruit
  • Lunch: Pasta salad (with egg for Stinkers)
  • Dinner: Beef, green bean and greens curry (from leftover beef – the ‘greens’ being perpetual spinach, turnip greens and beetroot leaves from the garden); carrots and coriander; spiced courgette and cauliflower ‘rice’ with cumin seed flatbreads

General comments:

Not very organised this week which resulted in having to pop back to Sainsburys to get some bits.  We seemed to run out of pretty much everything fruit and veg-wise with the only veg being left at the end of this week (after making Monday dinner) being beetroot, the fennel, a couple of peppers and a leek.  We do still have some lamb and some pork, plus chicken livers (that really need using) in the freezer.

I keep wanting to do some juicing, but haven’t been able to order the extra in for the next week, so am hoping to be able to start juicing (for my breakfast) the week after (as I realise I’m rather lacking when it comes to eating breakfast and lunch).

The one thing that I really noted this week is the difference in taste between Riverford Organic’s and Sainsburys’ apples – in comparison to Riverford, Sainsburys’ organic apples are rather lacklustre and tasteless with a strange metallic after-taste.